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Lunch! What'd ya have? (2012–2014)


Chris Hennes
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Lunch on Friday:

• Steamed flounder fillets, cut into large pieces. Pre-marinated with salted (whole) soya beans [上等豆酱] (Tiger brand), sesame oil, Shaohsing wine, ground white pepper, julienned sliced fresh ginger, smashed garlic. Added sliced fresh shiitakes into the mix. Dressed after steaming w/ sliced scallions.

• Stir-fried "Yau Mak Choy"**. Romaine lettuce stir-fried w/ chopped garlic in hot veggie oil with oyster sauce & a splash of mirin.

• Steamed (boiled) white rice (Thai Hom Mali).

** Note: "Yau mak choy", as called by the Cantonese (especially in SE Asia) [see here for some images] is a sort of baby lettuce; the typical romaine (or cos) lettuce found in the west is basically the same but larger. The term is sometimes used in relation to Taiwanese "A-choy" which is not what I used here.

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Saturday lunch:

• Stir-fried beef slices w/ loads of smashed & chopped garlic and sliced bittergourd.

• "Kwun Tong" (quick boiled soup) of chopped chicken legs, sliced fresh ginger, halved crimini miushrooms, sliced shiitake mushrooms, chopped "Wong Nga Pak" (Napa cabbage) hearts, trimmed Thai basil.

• Boiled/Steamed basmati white rice.

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• "Choy Kon T'ong" [菜乾湯; Yale: choi3 gon1 tong1] - "Dehydrated Cole" soup.

This is dehydrated "Bok Choy" [白菜乾; Yale: baak6 choi3 gon1], soaked for a while, trimmed and squeezed off somewhat; simmered for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours w/ pork ribs (short-cut; chopped into pieces) sautéed w/ lots of smashed garlic; Chinese red dates ["Hung Chou"; 紅棗; Yale: hung4 jou2; Ziziphus zizyphus]; rehydrated small dried patterned-cap shiitake mushrooms ["Far Koo"; 花菇; Yale: fa1 gu1]; salted dried cuttlefish ["Mak Yue Kon"; 墨魚乾; Yale: gon1 mak6 yu2]; and sea salt.

• "Kon Lo Mein" - Skinny wonton noodles tossed w/ a sauce of minced beef sautéed w/ chopped garlic, oyster sauce, thick dark soy sauce, MRT Ryori-shu, Higeta Honzen soy sauce, and chopped deseeded hot long green chillies.

BTW using the dried ingredients in this sort of soup is necessary to obtain the particular taste profile and characteristics desired of this soup. Using fresh (i.e. undried/non-dehydrated) stuff is just wrong. Even fresh shiitakes would be simply wrong - the taste would not be right.

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Some pics of 3 of the dried ingredients I used:

The dried cuttlefish.

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The "Dehydrated Cole"/dried Bok Choy. Two brands shown. I used the one on the left today.

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Red dates. Two good grades shown. I used the ones on the left today.

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Edited by huiray (log)
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what are the salted dried cuttlefish like? are they strongly 'fishy' ( in a bad sense ) is that why one would use them rather than fresh or is this a problem with older long transport times and geography?

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rotuts, the dried cuttlefish impart a sort-of fishy-tangy taste to the soup as well as a burst of umami. The taste is *not* "bad" - it resembles salted dried fish, in a vague way, where good ones have a clean nice smell to it, not at all "bad". One could also think of it in the same way as dried scallops (although the smell and taste is not the same) which are also added to various kinds of soup for both the taste and the umami factor.

Nevertheless, it can be considered an "acquired taste", in a manner of speaking, especially if one has not encountered such tastes or smells before. The dried cuttlefish here is added for the taste/smell only. It is not eaten.

I'm sure issues with fast degradation &etc with fresh squid & cuttlefish would have been a factor in olden times (and even in modern times) but once the techniques and uses of the dried product were established they acquired their own desirability as an ingredient (and not the fresh stuff) in dishes for the taste profile. In this soup I made, if I used fresh squid I would end up with a differently tasting (and, to me, undesirable) soup.

ETA: Dried foodstuffs frequently become a different ingredient altogether. This is especially true of dried seafood, and of many other types of dried vegetables. They acquire their own characteristics and taste profiles as well as concentration of certain taste components, and it is an error to think of all dried foodstuffs as "poor substitutes" for the fresh stuff.

Think of katsuoboshi (shaved dried cured bonito/skipjack tuna) versus the fresh fish, as perhaps something more familiar (vis-a-vis Japanese cuisine) - one does not make dashi with the fresh fish - one uses the shaved dried/fermented/etc stuff.

Edited by huiray (log)
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Dried foodstuffs frequently become a different ingredient altogether.

That is true of preserved foods in general, not only dried. Many preserved foods were originally preserved to maintain supplies when fresh wasn't available, but become valued in their own right, either for the altered flavour or texture or whatever.

I mean no one makes bacon today to preserve pig, do they?

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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That is true of preserved foods in general, not only dried.

Indeed.

Dried salted plums, as another example that just popped into my mind - they *cannot* be substituted with fresh plums in dishes that call for the dried salted stuff. Not if one wished to create the dish with those characteristics that were called for as intended. Etc etc etc.

ETA: Sure, if one wished one could use the fresh ingredient instead - but the resulting dish would be specific to one's taste and would no longer be what was intended in the original or the traditional dish. There are exceptions, of course, but in general the two are not really interchangeable.

Edited by huiray (log)
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• "Choy Kon T'ong", leftovers from previously. Broth plus the veggie (the good stuff) largely spooned out.

Babi Pongteh chez huiray today. A Nyonya dish. Sliced pork belly simmered/stewed w/ sautéed sliced shallots, smashed chopped garlic, salted soy beans, garlic-black bean sauce, rehydrated small "flower-cap shiitake mushrooms", thick dark soy sauce, "gula melaka", sliced potatoes.

• Stir-fried baby bok choy.

• Steamed/boiled white rice (Hom Mali).

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Southern Fried Chicken today, at Mississippi Belle in Indy.

"Meat 'n three".

White meat/dark meat (leg) pan-fried chicken.

Collard greens w/ extra pot likker.

Fried cabbage.

Mac 'n cheese.

Hot water corn bread w/ onion slices.

Half-n-half sweet tea & unsweetened tea.

I was as happy as a clam.

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Barley with broccoli, sundried tomatoes, crumbled feta. Made a larger batch, mixed with olive oil, added a tsp of red wine vinegar to each portion in the morning. I had cooked the barley in diluted chicken broth. Eaten at the desk, as you can see.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Lunch on Friday:

• Fresh "Far Koo" [flower-pattern thick cap shiitake mushrooms], fresh white beech mushrooms and fresh "Muk Yee" [wood ear mushrooms] sautéed w/ "Wong Nga Pak" [Napa cabbage], sliced ginger & Shaohsing wine. Salted to taste.

• "Yeung Chow" fried rice: with chopped Chinese BBQ pork ["Char Siu"], sliced shrimps, chopped Chinese long beans, chopped scallions, finely chopped garlic, tossed w/ chopped plain-fried egg omelette. Eaten w/ pickled chopped hot long green chillies.

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A couple of pics of some of the ingredients:

Mushrooms (washed):

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Stuff for the fried rice:

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Edited by huiray (log)
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White Chicken Chili from America Test Kitchen.

Cutting down on carbs, so I picked out the cannellini beans - actually white kidney beans as I couldn't find cannellini). To help "thicken", I added steamed grated cauliflower. I did add a spoonful of 0% Greek yogurt. The Poblano, Anaheim, and Jalapeno peppers added a nice bit of heat that lingered. It was really good and I'd make it again. :smile:

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Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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rotuts, adding in "lap cheong" would be a fine addition. I would prefer to soften it in some way first, though (e.g. steam it). I've done it with the unsoftened sausage in fried rice before on various occasions, for my taste I would prefer it better if softened first.

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Barley w/broccoli - an interesting combination. Do you do this (and variations thereof) on a regular basis?

I like grain salads, so I will cook them in diluted chicken stock and mix with whatever veggies need to be used. I had cut the broccoli into tiny florets and stem pieces, threw it in the pan with the barley for the last 2 minutes of cooking. It was good as a hot side as well as a room temp salad with the added vinegar.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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Sunday lunch:

• Daikon & pork meatballs soup** eaten w/ softened (hot water soaked) "Mei Fun" (thin Chinese rice noodles).

• Blanched "Tong Ho" (edible chrysanthemum or garland chrysanthemum) drizzled w/ oyster sauce & dusted w/ ground black pepper.

To drink, a nice tasty calamansi lime juice (Luzona) over ice.

** Stock: pork bone stock, from ~5 lbs pork knuckle & shin bones w/ lots of marrow & cartilage, simmered w/ some sea salt for >6 hrs; filtered through cheesecloth. Soup: the stock, simmered w/ sliced daikon radish (peeled), ground pork meatballs [formed from ground pork + chopped scallions + ground white pepper + a few dashes of good fish sauce (nước mắm)] towards the end plus copious freshly ground white pepper. The soup is unctuous w/ the gelatin from the stock and also very peppery.

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Edited by huiray (log)
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Finger food.

Clams steamed in Shaoxing wine with garlic and chilli, finished with a splash of soy sauce and another of oyster sauce. Sprinkled with Chinese chives.

Served with crusty bread to mop up the juices.

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Great looking and I sure great tasting dish. I can't wait to try.
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Great looking dishes on this lunch post. A shout out to huiray for all your great posts. I'm haven't had much exposure to this style of cooking but I am inspired to try some of these dishes.

Thanks. Do try your hand more at this stuff, maybe you might do it more frequently with more regularity. :-)

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